independence – self-determination – autonomy

Donald, Where’s your Troosers?

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Are we watching America slide into fascism? The fact that the leader of this new movement is a clown doesn’t make it funny. The key elements are all there: a militarised police force acting with impunity, a leader talking to highly orchestrated gatherings of fanatical supporters, a culture of fear and heightened racial tension, a highly militarised economy and a leadership focused on scapegoating external threats. In one recent rally a Trump supporter was heard shouting “Light The Motherf*cker On Fire” as a Black Lives Matter protester is dragged away by security to huge applause.

The Donald bestrides global media oozing stupidity like pus from a sore. We can see him above practising his Blue Steel look, but this isn’t funny any more.

You know you are in trouble when you are to the right of Benjamin Netanyahu and more conservative than the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Believe me a Donald Presidency will have us hankering for a liberal like Dubya.

And it may happen. As Trump, swollen by his own gigantic narcissism, piles racist slur upon racist slur, his popularity grows. He is now on a remarkable 41% – almost three times the tally of his nearest rival, Ted Cruz, who is on 14%, according to the new survey. And Ted’s no Smart Guy Waiting in the Wings neither (Mr Cruz recently vowed to ‘drop so many bombs on the Middle East that he will make the desert glow’).

Might the American voter, like the French, take a more sober look at the prospects of handing office to the far-far-right when push actually comes to shove? You’d have to hope so. But prospects are slim when you have citizens as short on smarts as the slack-jawed people of Woodland, North Carolina, who recently rejected a solar project on the grounds it would “suck up all the sunlight”. 

Part of the problem we have here is that the others: the fantastic Ben Carson, the dynastic Jeb Bush, the scandal-mired Chris Christie, or the Clinton-Mirror Carly Fiorina (and more), is that they are hard to distinguish. They are clustered around a set of ideas (using the term loosely) that you will be familiar with: advanced social conservatism, hyper-militarism, cultural racism and ‘pro-business’ rhetoric (which acts as a not-so veiled attack on workers rights).

One site tells us that “Ms. Fiorina has offered little in the way of specific policy proposals. She opposes abortion rights and backs a more aggressive American military posture abroad”. Ben Carson (you might remember) is the dude who thinks that the pyramids were built for storing grain, saying:

“[W]hen you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons. And various of scientists have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how–‘ you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you.” Stop sniggering at the back.

Chris Christie is so mired in scandals and a backlog of media crises it’s a wonder he made it to the ticket at all.  His ‘tell its like it is’ schtick is comprehensively overshadowed by the Donald, who is the master of the form. Rand Paul is a pale-imitation of his liberation father.

Perhaps only Jeb Bush has a shred of credibility. He has a “super PAC,” majestically called ‘Right to Rise’, and with the money raised by his campaign, Mr. Bush’s war chest is larger than any of his rivals. He’s smarter than Bush 2 and younger than Bush 1. So the answer to the problem that is Trump may not come from the GOP. It’s full of Trump Lite candidates, who are a bit bonkers and a bit shouty but just not on the same scale as The Donald. The solution might have to be from the Democrats, and there we have a different problem.

Clinton v Sanders

Whilst the Republican field is crowded with crazies, the Democratic list is just three, and out of them only two credible candidates: Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.

As Jamie Maxwell put it: “Sanders’ unexpected and impressively sustained assault on the Democratic establishment owes as much to the substance of his rhetoric as to the rhetoric itself. Sanders has built his campaign around two core themes: the widening wealth gap and the long-term decline of the American ‘middle class’ – a catch-all term encompassing everyone but the very richest and very poorest Americans.”

So, if it were to be Trump v Sanders we’d have an amazing clash of political cultures in which one team deifies the Super Rich and raise them to icon status, whilst the other categorically denounces the state of inequality and is calling out the abuse of corporate power. But Sanders will need to expand his reach beyond a heavily white, college-town demographic to other elements of the Democratic coalition, notably African Americans.

If it’s Hillary Clinton she will have the benefit of a near 100% name recognition on her side and the great advantage of the Women’s Vote. In other words if it’s Trump versus Sanders its Rich versus Poor, if it’s Trump versus Clinton it’s the Battle of the Sexes, in which case Trumps misogyny will become a focal point of any campaign as much as his blatant racism. The New York Times tells us “Why She will Win”: “Her economic message will highlight issues that resonate with women in particular, including a higher minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, early childhood education, and affordable child care” and “a built-in base of support among working-class women.”

Clinton’s challenge is to present herself as a future-facing candidate rather than a figure from the past. She will be, possibly even more than Sanders, a lightning rod for the right-wing media and Fox culture of America’s shock-jocks and online frenzy.

Whoever wins the nomination it will be the most politically-charged and divergent race in decades.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. With the world in a state of heightened tension, with multiple points of conflict, Putin at the helm in Russia and crucial climate commitments being brokered, the prospects of Trump gaining power in America are terrifying.

Scotland v Trump

The Scottish response has been admirable. All this righteous anger is great, and understandable, but futile. Taking away the Open Championship or stripping him of honorary degrees or  banning him from Britain or even stripping him of his title as Global Scot (as we should have done many months ago) won’t make a blind bit of difference.

What might ultimately undermine him is his grand masterful dopiness.

If the unthinkable happens, and he becomes the Republican candidate he will at last be under the glare of some proper media scrutiny. Head to head with any of the Democratic candidates he will be taken apart. His glib content-free answers won’t wash if he actually gets put in a tv stand in front of credible journalists instead of his rallies and tub-thumbing meetings. If the Trump gatherings are an echo chamber for Red Neck America, tinged with violence, the momentum may come shuddering to a halt in the cold air of reality when it dawns on them that not everyone is as dumb as they are.

 

 

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32 Comments

  • Elizabeth McIntosh 12 months ago

    Do you think if Trump is elected Hilary Benn will recommend we bomb the 'fascists'?

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  • Peter B 12 months ago

    I think they are already pretty far down the slide - - 1 in 142 of the population in prison?

    The problem with our and their ruling class is that they don't survive on production - - - but on debt, financial manipulation, short term gain, enslavement in the form of tax-farming - - and anything they can do to take our mind off these facts, such as in this case causing outrage (Godard for example, said that the best form of publicity, by far, is bad publicity) - - is only to their benefit.

    The phrase 'Trump gaining power in America' refers to something that has already happened. I would question whether any president could alter any of this, and help to decentralise power, remove any of their 700+ overseas military bases, and cause us for once to write on our blogs that they have a wise and benign leadership who seek only collaborative and open government.

    To answer the question about the troosers?

    Let the bombs blow high
    Let the bombs blow low
    Through the world
    In our drones we'll go
    All the bairnies scream: go, go!
    Donald, you're a loser!

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  • Alan 12 months ago

    Yes, the Republicans standing are a scary lot. And the American policing and prison culture is vile. And it's hard to get enthusiastic about Clinton. In any other context you'd consider her fairly conservative and right-wing. Saunders has been pulling her to the left. No doubt she'll swing back when he's gone. However...

    Trump and others are guilty of exaggeration, misrepresentation, and fear-mongering. You shouldn't engage in the same.

    "...his popularity grows. He is now on a remarkable 41%..."

    You fail to note that this figure comes from a release: "based on a sample of 385 registered voters who identify themselves as Republicans or lean toward the Republican Party."

    The racism and vilification of minorities, while it appeals to a certain section of the Republican  base and is important for winning primaries, is a big problem for the Republicans in the actual election. The percentage of minority voters in the US is steadily increasing and eventually minority voters will be the majority (they are already in some states e.g. California). Every election cycle it becomes harder for Republicans to win if they continue to alienate minorities. Trump has upset Republican establishment strategy geared to doing better with minorities, especially Hispanics and Latinos.

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    • Alan 12 months ago

      Should read "...base that is important..."

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    • Bella Caledonia Editor 12 months ago

      Not sure how I'm engaged in fear-mongering? I do conclude by saying he will face real difficulty when out of the echo-chamber of his own staged events.

      See also: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/12/donald-trump-fascism-islamophobia-nativism/

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      • Alan 12 months ago

        I was commenting on the 41%. Without the context of small sample of Republican voters, one might think 41% of the American population have a favourable opinion of him. These poll figures don't mean much. If he's still looking like a candidate with a chance after a few primaries, that might be different matter. Although, I have to wonder if Independent voters who detest him might view voting for him as a strategic choice in the primaries in order to kill the chances of a Republican getting to the Whitehouse.

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  • john young 12 months ago

    I have said many times and for a long time now our biggest enemy is the good auld USA,we might still follow them over the cliff.If you read the story of "Blackhawk Down" and the young ranger saying that he didn,t think that the invasion would be as bad because that the John Wayne movies he watched never portrayed it like this,ffs,thing is most of them are like this.

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  • leavergirl 12 months ago

    Women's vote for Hillary? No way Jose. I would rather slash my wrists than to vote for this person who has been openly described as a pathological liar, war monger, and a psychopath. She gives people the creeps. Being part of the Clinton dynasty does not help her either... Americans of all political shades don't care for "royal families".

    By the way, I recently read a very interesting analysis that it is possible Donald -- who until recently was a lifelong Democrat and still is a friend of the Clintons -- may be running a stealth campaign to get the unelectable Mrs. Clinton elected.

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    • Alan 12 months ago

      When it comes down to it, American elections are about voting for the least worst choice. And the quality of the choices seems to get progressively worse with each election.

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    • Bella Caledonia Editor 12 months ago

      I wasn't expressing a personal preference but polling shows significant backing for Clinton from women voters.

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    • leavergirl 12 months ago

      We don't trust mainstream media, but should trust mainstream polls? I figure they are trying hard to massage the masses. Hillary is a Wall Street gal is ever there was one, and women are not stupid. (Here's hoping!) Someone below claims that her pathological lies are an invention of the ultra-right press. That is completely laughable. Her lies are all over the web, they reach way into her past, and not going away. One only has to look.

      Well, these jokers don't really run things anyways. They are glorified talking heads.

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      • Alan 12 months ago

        Wall Street girl. So true.

        She's a politician completely lacking in any convictions. She'll do whatever it takes, sacrifice whatever gets in the way, to get to the Whitehouse. And she'll win not because she's liked but because the Republican option is likely to be much worse. Like Obama, she's Republican-lite. Torture, war, Wall Street crime, surveillance and erosion of civil liberties? No problem!

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      • Alan 12 months ago

        I'm sure Clinton is best pals with Tony Blair. They are cut from the same cloth.

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      • Alf Baird 12 months ago

        "..these jokers don’t really run things anyways. They are glorified talking heads."

        Very well put, leavergirl. Reminds me of the 200+ public institutions in Scotland still run by an overpaid unionist elite. Those who think the SNP "really run things" should take a closer look.

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  • Shen 12 months ago

    The Trump card to take out Ted Cruz, and then to put Hillary (another two faced lying Clinton) a Psychopath into the top spot. American Democracy ? All Descendants Of Slave Owners !!

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  • Alf Baird 12 months ago

    Who the USA or any other nation democratically vote in as their President is none of our business.

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  • Ross McEachern 12 months ago

    Trump cares about two things money and self!

    Is it any wonder he scapegoats the Mexicans, Muslims and now Black People to appeal to American conservatives?

    I am confident that there will come a time when he gets caught out big time.

    The US is full of good people and good journalists, normally people in Trump's position are reclusive and don't seek to ruffle feathers as they have plenty to hide. Trump has not only emerged from the bunker, but he is throwing mud around whilst standing for the biggest of all public offices.

    Someone, somewhere, at sometime, will find something particularly nasty and make it public. His downfall will be spectacular, let's hope it happens one fore he get near the Whitehouse!

    If his Highland mother is looking down on him, I wonder what she sees was thinks?

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  • Darby O’Gill 12 months ago

    What does it say about us Scots that we have allowed this man to purchase land in Scotland?

    I like the suggestion of introducing 'Thanksgiving Day' to Scotland. A day when we give thanks to Mary Macleod for not returning home for the birth of Donald.

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    • florian albert 12 months ago

      'what does it say about us that we have allowed this man to purchase land in Scotland ?'

      Our government was keen that Donald Trump come to Scotland as he promised to bring investment and create jobs.

      This is the price Scotland has been paying for having a weak economy during the last sixty years.
      This has applied whether the government was Tory, Labour or SNP.

      If anything, the need for foreign investment is likely to increase.

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      • Darby O’Gill 12 months ago

        Inward investment is one thing. Selling off your country is another.

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  • bjsalba 12 months ago

    Where do most Americans get their view of Hilary Clinton from? The Republican controlled Ultra right wing press, of course - a lot of the same shower that run the press here. They are the ones who have called her " a pathological liar, war monger, and a psychopath". I just wish more male voters in the USA understood that.

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  • john young 12 months ago

    How can you say that Alf Baird we have been on our knees to the USA as far as I can remember,of course it is "our" business.

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    • Alf Baird 12 months ago

      "on our knees to the USA "

      John, this is more a consequence of the policies and priorities of successive UK governments, which I agree is "our" business. But whosoever US citizens elect is a matter for them.

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      • douglas clark 12 months ago

        But whosoever US citizens elect is a matter for them.

        On an isolated planet that would be true. On a planet where there are a minimum of three states, the USA, Russia and China that can blow us all to kingdom come, it is a lot less compelling as an arguement.

        I am not at all convinced that if no-one else wanted to go to a war of a nuclear nature that a President Trump is not a 'risk to far' for sane people.

        Hopefully the US electorate shuns an obvious nutter. But how often will they have to do that in the future? It only takes a single 'Revelations' President to blow us both to Kingdom come.

        Once.

        Still, no worries about kids or mortgages or futures. Are you ready for that?

        But whosoever US citizens elect is a matter for them.

        Amen, brother.

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        • Alf Baird 12 months ago

          Douglas, calling Mr. Trump a "nutter" and questioning his sanity is not helpful, neither are the insults made by our ex FM and present FM. Resorting to name calling merely diminishes any argument you (or they) may have.

          And anyway, if Mr. Trump was elected as President of the USA, what would you propose to do about it?

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  • duncan 12 months ago

    Wasn't it Clinton who lost his troosers anaw? Anyways, you set your stall out in the same way as Trump does, using caricatures, gross misrepresentations with no nuanced discussion. Instead you are happy to lampoon Amercan conservatism in one broad brush stroke. In doing so, you subconsciously parody the very thing you are critical about. You accuse republicans of being conservative, go figure? one candidate of being similar to his father? really? and one being a Clinton mirror, presumably because she is female? You would ban someone to enter Scotland for disagreeing with you? Just like Trump. (you can claim authorial irony here, as all intellectuals do as an escape clause) Or could this just be a Scottish stereotype, the tall poppy one that doesn't tolerate anything.
    Scotland, has never and will likely never have the unenviable task of global responsibility. The independence movement is double think as it fights for independence and it is ready to forfeit it once more to an even bigger and more powerful European superpower. But America is different. It is about being outspoken, popular and unpopular views. Leading. It had a successful Conservative revolution against British tyrants and won,a very unpopular motion at the time. It has a mind of its own. Something we could all learn from.

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  • Darby O’Gill 12 months ago

    Duncan, I always thought it was the United Nations that had global responsibility.

    I seem to recall that in the run-up to the referendum Jose Barroso, the then President of the European Commission, advised us that Scotland would, by default, no longer be a member of the EU if it voted YES for independence (self-determination)

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  • john young 12 months ago

    Duncan I dis-agree totally,Americans are dominated by twin evils of mega corporations/Israel.not to mention the cult of Holywoodcelebrities,their governments present and past are a scourge on humanity,they cannot "chew gum and fart" at the same time.

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    • douglas clark 12 months ago

      John.

      Is the UK not the mini-me version of the same thing?

      I think it was chew gum and swim, but what the hell.....

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  • Alan 12 months ago

    I'd be surprised if she didn't have stronger support from women voters than her potential Republican rivals. However, there is quite a lot of variation in the level of support. What matters is that she does well in swing states.

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  • john young 12 months ago

    Most countries that the USA get involved with in the middle east end up with Al Qaueda why? could it not be that they are a USA proxy for the purpose of carrying out mayhem they are also funded by the Saudis,Americas great allies Isis closely allied with Turkey? American ally NATO member? who according to our government highly regarded by us,ffs.

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  • Mike 12 months ago

    The US is now so far to the right there are no candidates in any party that aint ultra Conservative.
    Its so bad that what used to be Conservative Republicanism has now morphed into Ultra extremist Fascism while what used to be moderate Conservative Democrat has morphed into full right wing Conservative Tory.
    There is nothing for the Social Democrat or the vast majority of American voters at all. I don't know what the turn out numbers are like but surely they can be nothing but in terminal decline.
    I suppose its only the very wealthy who can afford to run election campaigns and there lies the rub with the end of any real chance of democratic choice.
    The entire US constitutional experiment has ended in failure for its founding fathers who surely must be turning in their graves to see the US Republic become worse than the despotic UK colonial masters they once endured.

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